In contemporary media culture, social media have become important publics of care for young people with a serious illness. While much previous research has focused on the positive aspects of online support networks, this article investigates the affective experience of what we call ‘ugly media feelings’, such as envy, shame, annoyance, irritation and scepticism, based on an in-depth interview study of 25 young Danish cancer patients’ (aged 15–29) experiences of social media. We argue that ugly media feelings can be analysed, firstly, as indirect revelations of the communicative ideals and media investments that young cancer patients make when they turn to social media during their illnesses and, secondly, as entangled with media cultural changes that have created new affectively unpredictable spaces for interacting about serious illness outside home and health institutions.
- social media
- youth culture